How To Take The Stress Out Of The Holidays

Now that we are nearing the Holidays, it seems like all anyone is talking and thinking about are Christmas gifts. As parents, we put so much pressure on ourselves to get the biggest, most expensive gifts, and the truth is that all of this pressure is set by us, not the children.

I have been following the four present rule for quite sometime now. However, this year, I am not even doing four gifts. I told my oldest (6 year old) that this year he was getting only one gift and we would instead take a trip the week after Christmas. He was perfectly fine with it and is really looking forward to his trip.

The fact is, that we set ourselves up with so much pressure and stress that we really don’t allow ourselves to enjoy the season. Instead, I want to focus on going to holiday events, making new traditions and continuing the old ones.

I am also trying to live by our new minimalist lifestyle. I hate buying new things that they really don’t need, will only play with for a few minutes and thrown in the corner for the rest of the year. We are also trying to give our children more experiences and less materialistic items and so a trip is the most ideal for us. We are planning on going to Great Wolf Lodge with them for a couple of days and revealing this to them on Christmas morning as part of their gift.

So how am I making this work? Luckily, my boys are still young. My two year old doesn’t even understand the concept of Christmas yet so receiving even one new toy to play with for him will be a nice treat. I can’t even begin to tell you how many gifts were under the tree when my oldest was that age. They were all things I wanted for him, not anything he even asked for. At this age, it doesn’t even need to be something expensive. Children are drawn to any new item that they get the chance the put their hands on, it doesn’t matter what it is or how much it cost.

Now for my oldest, he is really more into video games, YouTube videos, etc.. Because he received a switch last Christmas, and he still has his IPAD we purchased a few years back, he really is not asking for or requesting anything. We also celebrated his birthday in August where he received a ton of really cool gifts and so their hasn’t been anything that he has stated he wants.

I am also not giving him the opportunity to ask for anything either. In past years, I have given him toy catalogs from Target and other stores and asked him to circle everything he wanted. I am sure I am not the only parent who has done this, but seriously, why on earth would we set ourselves up like that. The other day we went to Target, and in the entrance was a display of toy catalogs. He recognized it and stopped to point at it to me and I quickly changed the conversation. You see, the moment he opens it up, he’ll go from an empty Christmas list to a list a mile long. Also, I always avoid going through toy aisles and take the long way to the seasonal section of the store. Don’t judge me, a mom’s gotta do what she’s gotta do!

At the end of the day, I understand that our lifestyle and beliefs are not for everyone. The point I am trying to make is that if you decide to buy one, four, or a dozen gifts for your children, whatever you decide just make sure you are enjoying yourself and not making this a stressful season. Happy Holidays! -Miri <3